FORT WORTH -- Families are showing up at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth looking for guidance on the Affordable Care Act.
They are asking questions, but at this moment, financial counselors can’t give them any answers.
“Our heart and hope is to help our patients, and these are not easy programs to navigate through,” said JPS Health Network Financial Officer David Salsberry. “We were hoping to receive approval by Oct. 1.”
JPS officials have been waiting for approval from the federal government to certify its own hospital financial counselors so they can help people enroll in the marketplace.
JPS turned in its application for the volunteer program mid-August, claiming it meets all the requirements.
Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas County submitted their paperwork a few days before, and it’s already enrolling patients.
The feds made the application available in late July.
“As an organization, we got right on it,” Salsberry said.
Salsberry suspects the healthcare.gov website glitches, the delays in the program, and possibly the government shutdown might be slowing down the approval process. He hopes to get a response soon, because his team still needs training.
“It will probably take two-to-three weeks to get everyone through the training,” Salsberry said. “There's a test they have to take in order to be certified.”
So for now, JPS keeps waiting, knowing patience is still necessary with Obamacare.
“It's just got to work its way through the process,” Salsberry said.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
1. Have processes in place to screen your staff to make sure that they protect consumer information
2. Engage in services that position you to help those you serve with health coverage issues
3. Have experience providing social services to the community